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28 September 2005 @ 08:07 pm
The Republican money making machine explodes  
A house of cards is how congressional scholar Norman Ornstein describes it in Michael Scherer's Salon article about the latest Republican scandals. What had been a smooth operation to funnel money to candidates for the party, organize votes for important bills and generally dominate Capital Hill is breaking down in an onslaught by prosecutors determined to bring those involved to justice. A wind of change has come to Washington--perhaps wafted up from the Gulf--and it looks like Republican hegemony is drawing to a close. While I don't expect them to go quietly--DeLay blustered enough to create another hurricane today--it is refreshing to see reality wash over the smoke and mirrors of Washington D.C. for a change. I often think it is far more adept at theater than its Hollywood rival.


To quote Michael Scherer's article in Salon:


At its height, the first great political machine of the 21st century worked like this: In Congress, Texas Rep. Tom DeLay controlled the votes like a modern-day Boss Tweed. He called himself "the Hammer." His domain included a vast network of former aides and foot soldiers he installed in key positions at law firms and trade groups, a network that came to be called the "K Street Project." He gathered tithes in the form of campaign cash, hard and soft, and spread it out among the loyal. He legislated for favored donors. He punished those who disobeyed, and bought off those who could be paid.

Conservative activists, who had grown up in the heady days of Reagan's America, patrolled the badlands of American politics for new opportunities. None did it better than Jack Abramoff, a former president of the College Republicans, who had a taste for expensive suits. Abramoff opened a restaurant, Signatures, where the powerful came to be seen and, in many cases, treated to free meals from a menu that included $74 steaks. He pulled in tens of millions of dollars from Indian tribes and the Northern Marianas Islands to help fund other operations -- skyboxes at the MCI Center where DeLay could hold his fundraisers and all-expense trips to Scotland where DeLay and friends could play golf.



Do you think that maybe now we can repeal those tax cuts and pay for the reconstruction of New Orleans? And if the bulk of voters elect a Republican majority again, they deserve what they get.
 
 
Current Mood: jubilantjubilant